8 Best Futures Trading Platforms & Brokers in 2023 | CoinCodex (2024)

In the dynamic world of finance and cryptocurrency, futures trading has emerged as a prominent avenue for traders and investors to maximize their profits. It offers a way to speculate on the future price of an asset, whether it's traditional commodities, cryptocurrencies, or even stock indices.

However, to navigate this complex landscape successfully, you need the right tools, and that starts with choosing the best futures trading platform.

In this article, we are going to examine the best futures trading platforms and explore their key features, trading fees, and more.

Here are the best futures trading platforms in 2023:

  1. E*TRADE – The best futures trading platform overall
  2. CME Group – The leading derivatives marketplace
  3. Interactive Brokers – A low-cost futures broker
  4. TD Ameritrade – A futures broker with one of the longest track records
  5. Plus500 – A beginner-friendly futures trading platform
  6. IG – A leading broker for trading futures CFDs
  7. TradeStation – Advanced trading tools for futures traders
  8. NinjaTrader – A trading platform specialized for futures

The 8 best futures trading platforms: Examining top futures brokers in 2023

In the following sections, we are going to examine the best futures trading platforms available in the market today. Please note that while the following ranking is rooted in objective aspects like trading fees, range of supported futures, and more, the ranking is ultimately based on this writer’s opinion, meaning that the ranking spot itself doesn’t necessarily mean that one platform is better than the other.

1. E*TRADE – The best futures trading platform overall

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E*TRADE is arguably the best futures broker in the online trading space. It is owned by the U.S. investment banking giant Morgan Stanley and provides all the bells and whistles a futures traders might need. The Power E*TRADE trading interface allows traders to easily view real-time contract prices and set, modify, and cancel their orders. E*TRADE not only provides a great platform for futures but is also considered one of the best platforms for trading bonds.

Clients can trade futures nearly around the clock (Sunday 5 p.m. CT to Friday 4 p.m. CT). The platform supports both micro and E-mini contracts, which allows traders to trade with greater flexibility and precision. It is worth noting that E*TRADE has a dedicated research center dedicated to futures traders, which features educational materials and insights provided by professionals.

Key features:

  • Clients can trade futures 24 hours a day, six days a week
  • Supports micro and E-mini contracts
  • Users can trade futures contracts listed on CME, ICE US, and CFE
  • Backed by US investment banking giant Morgan Stanley
  • E*TRADE Futures Research Center provides insights from seasoned futures trading professionals
Founded1982
Trading Fees$1.50 per futures contract
Margin RequirementsStarting from 13.2%
Minimum Deposit$0

Visit E*TRADE

2. CME Group – The leading derivatives marketplace

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CME Group is a prominent and globally recognized financial derivatives exchange. It specializes in financial derivatives, offering futures and options contracts for various asset classes. These assets can include agricultural commodities, energy products, equity indices, foreign exchange, interest rates, and more.

CME Group offers extensive market data and information to participants. This includes real-time price quotes, historical data, and research reports. Traders and investors use this information to make informed decisions and conduct technical and fundamental analyses.

Key features:

  • Provides futures contracts for a wide range of commodities, equities, forex, and bonds
  • CME Group's futures markets are the most liquid in the world, providing traders with tight spreads and efficient execution
  • Markets are accessible globally, 24 hours a day, six days a week
  • CME Clearing acts as the central counterparty to all futures trades, ensuring that all contracts are fulfilled
Founded1898
Trading FeesStarting from $0.35 per contract
MarginRequirements3-12% per contract
Minimum Deposit$0

Visit CME Group

3. Interactive Brokers – A low-cost futures broker

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Interactive Brokers is an online futures broker that provides access to futures contracts for U.S., European, and Asian stock markets. In total, over 35 market centers are featured on the platform, including the New York Mercantile Exchange, London International Futures & Options Exchange, and Hong Kong Futures Exchange.

Interactive Brokers supports the trading of numerous different futures, including agriculture, currency, energy, equity index, fixed income, metals, and volatility futures. Compared to some other companies on our list of futures brokers, Interactive Brokers offers very low fees for futures traders. It is worth pointing out that the platform is regarded as one of the best commodity trading platforms, which means that you can trade physical commodities as well as commodity futures from a single marketplace. It is also worth mentioning that Interactive Brokers is listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol IBKR.

Key features:

  • Provides access to more than 35 international markets
  • Traders’ Academy with 65 free courses on trading, stocks, futures, crypto, bonds, and more
  • Interactive Brokers' Trader Workstation platform is a bit complex for beginners, but it is highly customizable and offers a wide range of features for experienced traders
  • Offers 4.83% APY on uninvested cash (on balances above $10,000)
Founded1978
Trading Fees$0.85 per contract
MarginRequirements25%
Minimum Deposit$0

Visit Interactive Brokers

4. TD Ameritrade – A futures broker with one of the longest track records

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TD Ameritrade provides access to a variety of futures contracts, allowing clients to trade on different asset classes. These contracts include commodities like oil, gold, and agricultural products, as well as financial futures related to stock indices, interest rates, cryptocurrencies, and fiat currencies.

The brokerage firm offers educational resources and research tools to help clients understand and trade futures contracts effectively. This includes webinars, articles, and access to research reports. Overall, TD Ameritrade is one of the best platforms for futures trading, but relatively high fees prevent it from being higher on our list.

Key features:

  • Supports cryptocurrency and micro futures
  • Solid reputation for reliability and customer service
  • Offers educational resources to help traders learn and grow
  • User-friendly platform suitable for beginners
Founded1971
Trading Fees$2.25 fee per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees)
MarginRequirementsStarting from 12.75%
Minimum Deposit$50

Visit TD Ameritrade

5. Plus500 – A beginner-friendly futures trading platform

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Plus500 offers a variety of futures contracts for trading, including S&P 500, NASDAQ 100, and other indices, commodities like gold, old, and copper, and even cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform provides a variety of training resources, including in-depth articles explaining the pros and cons of futures trading, as well as free video training courses. Plus500 is a futures broker with a low intraday margin, starting at just 2% (5% overnight).

Clients can trade futures contracts with leverage, which can amplify profits and losses. In addition, Plus500 offers a variety of advanced trading tools, such as technical charts and indicators, to help traders make informed trading decisions. It is worth noting that Plus500 is very easy to use and thus suitable for beginners.

Key features:

  • Access to a wide range of futures contracts across all major asset classes, including cryptocurrencies
  • Offers competitive spreads and fees on its futures contracts
  • A variety of risk management tools, such as stop-loss orders and take-profit orders, to help traders manage their risk
  • Easy to use and navigate, even for novice traders
Founded2008
Trading FeesStarting from $0.49 (for micro futures)
Margin RequirementsStarting from 2%
Minimum Deposit$100

Visit Plus500

6. IG – A leading broker for trading futures CFDs

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IG is widely considered one of the leading platforms for trading CFDs – as a part of its offering, the firm allows traders to trade futures with CFDs. This allows clients to speculate on the underlying market price, without entering the futures contract itself.

IG supports more than 17,000 markets overall and is listed on FTSE250. IG allows users to trade with up to 200x leverage when trading forex CFD contracts, which is the most out of all online brokers on our list.

Key features:

  • Low margin requirements for futures CFDs
  • Allows traders to speculate on the future price of popular indices, commodities, and bonds
  • Deep liquidity supporting fast execution times
  • A fully regulated FTSE 250 company
Founded1974
Trading FeesSpreads start at 0.1 points (for commodities)
MarginRequirementsStarts at 0.50%
Minimum Deposit$0

Visit IG

7. TradeStation – Advanced trading tools for futures traders

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TradeStation is an electronic trading platform for financial market traders available as a desktop platform, a web platform, and a mobile app. It provides extensive functionality for receiving real-time data, displaying charts, entering orders, and managing outstanding orders and market positions.

TradeStation itself is not a broker but rather a trading platform that you can use to trade with your broker of choice. It supports over 100 brokers, including Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, and E*TRADE. Overall, TradeStation is considered as one of the best algorithmic trading platforms.

Key features:

  • Advanced trading software that supports more than 100 brokers
  • A large historical market price database for futures and other instruments
  • A wide range of educational resources
  • Over 600 futures and futures option products
Founded1982
Trading FeesStarting at $0.50 per micro futures
MarginRequirementsStarts at 25%
Minimum Deposit$0

Visit TradeStation

8. NinjaTrader – A trading platform specialized for futures

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NinjaTrader is a software platform for trading futures, forex, and other financial instruments. It is available as a free platform and a paid platform. The free platform offers basic charting and trading tools, while the paid platform offers more advanced features, such as backtesting, optimization, and automated trading.

NinjaTrader is a popular choice for both novice and experienced traders. It is known for its powerful charting tools, its ease of use, and its wide range of features. It is worth noting that to open a premium account with NinjaTrader, you need at least $400. For additional features unlocked with Optimus Futures, you need $500.

Key features:

  • Real-time charting with over 100 technical indicators
  • Backtesting and optimization of trading strategies
  • Paper trading to practice trading without risking real money
  • A library of pre-built trading strategies
Founded2003
Trading FeesStars from $0.09 per contract (with Lifetime license)
MarginRequirements$50 intraday margins
Minimum Deposit$0

Visit NinjaTrader

Futures trading FAQs

What is the best brokerage to trade futures?

The best brokerage to trade futures is E*TRADE. It supports regular, micro, and E-mini contracts, allows users to trade futures contracts listed on CME, ICE US, and CFE, and is backed by US investment banking giant Morgan Stanley. In addition, the E*TRADE Futures Research Center provides insights from seasoned futures trading professionals.

Where can I trade futures in Europe?

There are plenty of platforms that allow users to trade futures in Europe. Some brokers that allow trading futures in Europe are Interactive Brokers, Plus500, and CME Group. You can also use trading platforms like TradeStation and NinjaTrader.

Where can I trade futures in the US?

If you want to trade futures in the US, you can use brokers like E*TRADE, Interactive Brokers, Plus500, and others included on our list.

Which is the cheapest futures broker?

CME Group is one of the cheapest futures brokers in the market. Fees start at just $0.35 per futures contract.

Which is the best micro futures broker?

CME Group is arguably the best micro-futures broker, allowing traders to trade with a high degree of precision in agricultural commodities, energy products, equity indices, foreign exchange, interest rates, and cryptocurrency markets.

The bottom line

Choosing the right broker is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact your trading success. Through a meticulous examination of the top contenders in the industry, we've discovered that each broker offers a unique set of features, platforms, and pricing structures. These distinctions cater to diverse trading needs, from the beginner seeking simplicity to the seasoned trader demanding advanced tools and research capabilities.

Ultimately, the best futures broker for you is the one that aligns with your specific requirements, offering a platform that not only caters to your trading style but also empowers you to manage risk effectively. Before making your selection, it's vital to consider factors such as fees, trading tools, customer support, and the available range of futures contracts.

If you are thinking about trading stock futures, you should first get familiar with physical stocks so that you gain a sense of market behaviors and insight into potential future price movements. To get started, check our selection of the best stocks to invest in for 2023. If you’d like to examine low-volatility stocks, then check the top long-term dividend stocks.

8 Best Futures Trading Platforms & Brokers in 2023 | CoinCodex (2024)

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